Apple 12-inch MacBook 512GB Review

12-inch Apple MacBook

Apple 12-Inch MacBook with Retina Display

  • Intel Core m3 Processor, 1.1 GHz
  • Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan
  • 8GB Flash Storage
  • Intel HD Graphics 515
  • 11ac Wireless WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 12” LED-backlit Display w/ IPS Technology

 

12" Apple MacBook

The Apple 12-inch MacBook with Retina display for 2016 is the NEWEST VERSION in the MacBook series and comes in 256 and 512GB.  Designed to be the purest Mac ever, the new MacBook is slimmer and lighter, with a more intuitive interface that brings a new dimension to the Mac experience.  It’s an upgraded system that promises more functionality than ever before.  But is it worth the price some might consider lofty when it seems the biggest drawbacks of the 12-inch MacBook continue to plague the 2016 version?

Apple’s 2016 update to the previous MacBook brings with it an undeniably sleek design.  A needed boost to performance.  A high resolution display that won’t leave you disappointed.  An innovative trackpad that remains an industry gold standard.  And a longer-lasting battery life.  Our focus will be on the Apple 12-inch model with the 512GB.

Size/Weight

12-inch Apple MacBook (Retina display)

The 12-inch Apple MacBook comes in a beautiful, ultra-slim, lightweight design that’s built for portability.  It measures just half an inch (13.1 mm), and weighs a feather-light 2 pounds, making it a perfect travel companion.

Screen Size and Resolution

The images on the new MacBook are simply breathtaking.  The 2304 x 1440 resolution Retina display, with 226 pixels-per-inch delivers an outstanding range of colors with the help of LED back-lighting brightness that’s actually 30% more energy efficient than on the outgoing version.  Apple redesigned the pixels which creates a larger aperture, allowing more light to pass through.  Images are so crisp and colorful that we wish Apple would’ve developed a larger screen sizes other than just the 12-inch option.  But the screen-to-bezel ratio makes the screen size appear much bigger than it actually is.  Apple achieves this through a proprietary manufacturing process which adds considerably to the MacBook’s Retina experience.

Camera

If you’re any kind user of the FaceTime or Skype app you may be disappointed with the low-resolution quality of the 480p camera which proves to be a regrettable carry-over from last year.

Keyboard Quality/Trackpad

There’s always a black sheep in the family and this year’s Apple MacBook is no different.  Compared to the keyboard on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, depressing keys on this laptop feels…different.  Not bad mind you.  But the keys sit low, nearly flush to the bezel (a deliberate design feature by Apple that informs the system’s overall form- factor).  And due to the single assembly butterfly mechanism, combined with a stainless steel dome switch built under each key to reinforce the keyboards balance and stability, keystrokes feel shallow (about half a millimeter travel) compared to the longer strokes you get from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.  The keys are a good size, if not squeezed together.  However, as you quickly get used to it, you will find yourself smiling at the satisfying “click” you get from each key stroke.

Haptic heaven…

This same sense of fulfillment can be found in the new trackpad.  The Force Touch Trackpad (carried over from 2015) makes use of force sensors to detect how much pressure you’re applying along with the Taptic Engine to provide a haptic feedback so you can feel, as well as see what’s happening on the screen.  The trackpad can even tell if your clicking with your finger or thumb and adjusts pressure sensitivity accordingly.  This allows you the functionality of working multiple projects on different surfaces simultaneously.  And, to make this already fabulous mechanism even more extra-ordinary, Apple allows you to adjust the sensitivity for the pressure needed to register clicks and your finger’s Multi-Touch gestures to your taste and preference.

Processor

The 12-inch MacBook is the first Apple laptop line to make use of Intel’s Dual-Core 6th Gen ‘Skylake’ processor.  It comes in either a 256 or 512 GB configuration (as mentioned before) with 14 nanometer process technology for higher density and more efficient performance.  Apple discarded the weaker Core M for a more potent Core M3 processor with Intel’s HD Graphics 515 card for faster performance and storage speeds that allows you to work on multiple programs and tabs with little to no lag time.  The dual cores run at 1.1 GHz.  But Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology easily brings that number up to 2.2 GHz as needed.  All this with no fan since it only draws 5 watts of power and generates less heat than its predecessor.  Even though this much power is more than adequate for average users, video editors and gamers should look elsewhere as the system performance might be hampered by more robust usage.

Memory/Storage

MacBooks are designed around flash storage.  That’s what makes them so responsive.  You can run memory-intensive applications at the same time without losing performance with 8GB of on-board 1866 MHz LPDDR3 RAM with flash storage.  The flash storage of the MacBook is up to 9x faster than a traditional 5400 rpm notebook hard drive.  However, you may still see a spinning wheel at times depending on just how intense the apps you’re running at the same time are.

12" Apple MacBook (Retina display)

Ports

Apple publicizes the new MacBook as the future of computing.  So the system features a universal connectivity standard that combines essential daily functions in one dynamic port.  The USB-C port is use-able.  Actually, because of the MacBook’s Bluetooth functionality most users won’t miss having more ports.  That said, we don’t feel that you should have to rely on adapters to purchase extra functionality for a laptop that already costs over a thousand dollars.  The USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter sells separately for ($79).  But at least it comes with a power port, USB 3.0 port and HDMI port.

We concede that if Apple could only choose one port to maintain the new MacBook’s exercise in minimalism, the solitary USB-C port is an excellent choice.  It’s a universal standard that goes beyond Apple, which means more than just Apple peripheries can be plugged into it.  Kudos Apple!  But the implementation of MageSafe would’ve be much appreciated for people who have to work in environments where there’s not much light.

Wireless Networking/Bluetooth

People who will use this laptop on the go are going to really love the 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 ‘wireless’ technology.  Connectivity is up to 3x faster over previous models.

Battery Life

Due to a smaller logic board and the lack of a fan, battery life is much improved.  A larger, custom battery results in more battery capacity for up to 10 hours of use.  Charging sessions take about 2 and half hours.

Pros

  • slimmer and lighter design
  • industry leading trackpad
  • longer-lasting battery life

Cons

  • low-res camera
  • keyboard design that might take getting used to
  • the flash storage may still be too inadequate to keep you from seeing a spinning wheel

Our Verdict

There’s no denying consumer love for Apple products.  The new 12-inch Apple MacBook like last year’s model is still a polarizing achievement, however.  Even though we find it difficult to dismiss Apple’s achievement with a MacBook that values portability over productivity, it’s yet to reach the enviable position of being THE laptop for everyone.

We applaud Apple for their forward thinking use of Skylake technology, which helps the OS X system zip along more efficiently.  The 12-inch Apple MacBook is a laptop perfectly suited for on-the-move-computing.  But, like an artist before his time, the use of a single port seems likely to remain a point of contention for years to come.
For what it’s worth we agree with fellow critics that Apple has delivered an excellent product.  However, the manufacturer can’t afford to rest on its laurels just yet.  Just over the horizon comes a dust storm signaling new upstarts in the game.  Which means the MacBook will really need to step it up if it hopes to maintain this price point for long.

12" Apple MacBook (Retina display)

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